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managing your medical records

Did you know that some doctors keep information from you that you need to know? Let me give you a couple of examples.

A doctor sent me to a neurologist for examination. The neurologist examined me and sent my doctor a report that said there is a strong possibility I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But my doctor never told me this. He never even mentioned CFS to me. And I didn't find out about the report until a year later when I asked for copies of my records and read them.

More recently, a doctor told me my blood work was normal. When I looked at copies of my tests I noticed that some of my levels were ten times higher than the maximum for normal range. When I asked my doctor about this, he said that they are out of range, but it doesn't really tell us anything.

Okay, so they don't tell him anything. But they might tell another doctor something. And if I hadn't found out that my tests were well out of range I would not know to seek a second opinion.

There is another reason for having copies of your medical records at home. It makes it a lot easier when you start with a new doctor who wants to see your other medical records. You can make copies of these and take them in. Or some medical offices will copy them for you.

Update: I got a printer that also copies, scans, and faxes. So now a doctor can fax me lab results and I get them right away. I can also fax them to other doctors of mine who need to see them. Then I make a photocopy, put the original in my file and a copy in my med bag. This way I have a copy on hand if I need to show to a doctor. This includes doctors who already have the report, because sometimes they can't find it. Also, I can use the fax to communicate with pharmacy, get forms I have to fill out for appointments, etc. Or, if I receive a paper copy of a form, I can scan it into my computer, and then type to fill it out. I need this because sometimes I have trouble writing.


Thanks Andrew

I'm going to look into this myself. I live in the UK and have heard quite different accounts of how to go about this, and varying accounts of the expenses involved.
Good points Andrew! I have also found some pretty crazy stuff in my medical records that a couple years later have made me wish I could go back in and ask a few questions of the physician at the time.

Thanks for writing it Andrew! Good job catching that your blood work was off.

Love my doc, he has copies of all testing ready for you when you get to your appointment and discusses it line by line with you. Has made me forget just how careless some doctors can be. >.<

Have a great day Andrew. :)
Lisa, sounds as if you have an excellent doctor, I'm so glad. Andrew, this is very useful advice. I don't have many "official" medical records, but it is a good idea to keep track for so many reasons.

I ALWAYS ask for a copy of my tests & scans (& my wonderful Dr always gives me the specialist referrals in an unsealed envelope (or straight off his printer).

He knows I keep a record of absolutely everything.

A patient is entitled to a copy of ALL his medical records.

Demand them, it you have to - you're paying for them.
Hi Andrew!
Sounds ALL too familiar. My son Blake went 5+ years, was referred to 20+ speciliasts when his MD knew all along it was CFS. AT the end of my rope, no diagnosis, Blakes body shutting down, I asked the MD "what do you THINK this is?" He then said Chronic Fatigue Syndrome "But there is NOTHING you can do for it." I said "WATCH ME." I strutted out of the office, went home and started dialing the phone, looking on the net and I read everything and anything I could on the topic. Peterson could not take Blake for 1-2 years and the MD agreed Blake would not live that long....our MD was ENCOURAGED to hear of Peterson and the WPI and asked me to keep researching and to find a specialist whom he could refer Blake to. I kept at it and within 30 days had an appointment and within 90 days Blake started treatment. My pint...the MD knew ALL ALONG that it was CFS......I could have started the treatment process years before hand. We could have had some sort of diagnosis, instead of withering away in a bed and loosing all hope. We still wither away and some times loose hope! However....we have a diagnosis and to me that is 1/2 the battle! You've given GREAT advice which I learned the hard way!

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